Little or Much, Your Dead Works are an Abomination to God

Psalm 127: Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain.
2 unless the Lord builds the house, it’s a waste of time to get up early and stay up working. God gives sleep to the one God loves.

The Roman Catholic “church” taught that God says what God says about us because we are what we are. The false church said that God can only call people righteous, if people truly are righteous, inside and out. Rome taught that justification was a matter of cooperation with the divine grace infused into us by means of the water baptism done by the Roman Catholic “church”.

A later development in some Roman Catholic theology was idea of “covenant grace” by William of Ockham (also later by Gabriel Biel) that taught that God does not say that we are just because we REALLY ARE just. This different false gospel taught something new. This different false gospel promised those “who do what little one can do” that God would not deny grace to them.

We may not do much, this false gospel taught, but we do a little something. We don’t do nothing.

But the Bible teaches that God’s justification is by Christ’s death.

To make this point, the Bible teaches that God’s justification IS NOT BY OUR WORKS

The Bible teaches that, if we do something, God has done nothing.

Galatians 2:21 if righteousness comes through our works, then Christ died for nothing.

Romans 3: 28 a person is justified by faith apart from works

Do not assume that God is on your side. Do not assume that God loves you. Do not assume that there are least SOME things you do that God will always see in a positive way. Do not assume that at a minimum God must accept at least your worship even if not your sins. Do not assume that your worship and works are not sins.

Do not assume that, if you do your little bit, then God will do the rest. Do not assume that, if you do your best, then God’s grace will accept your best as good enough. Do not assume that, if you are sincere, then God will count your good motives as having DONE ENOUGH THINGS.

Do not assume that your motives are good. If your motive is to do something so that God can take that something and then do what God could have done without you, then your motive is not good but instead is self-righteousness and hatred of the God revealed in the Bible.

Hebrews 6:1– “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from DEAD WORKS, and of faith toward God”

Hebrews 9:14–”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from DEAD WORKS to serve the living God?”

The problem with using works to get assurance of justification before God is that works done before and without assurance of justification before God are NOT pleasing to God Works attempted before God without assurance of justification before God will not be accepted by God.

Works attempted before God without assurance of justification are DISPLEASING to God. Even if the works attempted are not attempted in order to gain assurance before God, without assurance of justification before God, all works are an abomination to God.

The Bible calls such works “dead works”, not only because they are works done by those still legally condemned before God but also because those dead works do not lead to life but to death.

Romans 6:20,21–”when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed. The end of those thing is death.”

Romans 10: 2 I can testify about them that they have zeal for God, but NOT ACCORDING TO KNOWLEDGE. Because they disregarded the righteousness FROM GOD and ATTEMPTED to BUILD THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, they have not submitted themselves to God’s righteousness. ….The righteousness from the law is that the one who DOES THINGS will live by THINGS DONE

Luke 16:15 That which is highly esteemed among humans is abomination in the sight of God.

Isaiah 1 Your appointed feasts I hate. Your religious ceremonies are a trouble unto me.

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD

Matthew 23:27 You are like unto whited tombs, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness

John 3:19 Even though the light has come into the world, people loved the darkness rather than the light because even their works were evil.

John 3:20 People with dead works hate the light of the gospel and do not come to the light because they don’t want their dead works to be exposed as dead works

Romans 4:4 To the one who works, forgiveness is not considered a gift. To the one who works, forgiveness is considered something owed.

Romans 10: 5 There is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 Now if being chosen is by grace, then being chosen is not by works. Otherwise works cease to be works Otherwise grace ceases to be grace. 7. Many did not find what they were looking for, but the elect did find grace. The rest were hardened, 8 as it is written:
God gave them a spirit of insensitivity,
eyes that cannot see
and ears that cannot hear

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8 Comments on “Little or Much, Your Dead Works are an Abomination to God”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    shouldn’t I concentrate on the gospel
    and not make a big deal about people who believe the same gospel as I do
    who happen to say “going straight to heaven”?

    I don’t know that people who equate “salvation” with going to heaven
    do believe the same gospel as I do

    for one thing,
    they don’t believe in the same salvation as I do

    the gospel is about a salvation from the wrath of God

    the gospel is about a justification before God before you die

    the gospel is the solution to being born in condemnation

    the gospel is God’s reconciliation for sins by the death of Christ

    people who equate salvation with “going to heaven”
    seem to think the only problem is being on earth after you are dead

    John 3: 12 If I have told you about things that happen on earth and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about things of heaven? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man

    Romans 5: 9 since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His resurrection. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have NOW RECEIVE THIS RECONCILIATION through Him

    I Corinthians 15: 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless. If there is no resurrection, you are still in your sins. If there is no resurrection, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished

    “The God of the Living” (Matt. 22:32. Mark 12:27. Luke 20:38). In these scriptures it is stated that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” But Traditionalists, believing that the “dead” are “the living,” making God the “God of the dead,” which He distinctly says He is not. Interpreting the words in this way, they utterly ignore the whole context, which shows that the words refer to the RESURRECTION.. Notice how this is emphasized in each Gospel:
    (i) “Then come unto Him the Sadducees, which say there is no RESURRECTION” (Matt. 22:23. Mark 12:18. Luke 20:27).
    (ii) The one issue raised by the Sadducees was the question, “Whose wife shall she be in the RESURRECTION?” (Matt. 22:28. Mark 12:23. Luke 20:33).
    (iii) The answer of our Lord deals solely with this one issue, which was RESURRECTION. Hence He says:
    Matt. 22, “as touching the RESURRECTION of the dead” (v. 31).
    Mark 12, “as touching the dead that they RISE” (v. 26).
    Luke 20, “now that the dead are RAISED, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the Lord, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, for he is not a God of the dead, but of the living, for all live unto him” (v. 38).
    These words were spoken by the Lord Jesus in order to prove “that the dead are RAISED.” Traditionalists use them to prove that the dead are “living” without being RAISED!
    The Sadducees may have denied many other things, but the one and the only thing in question here is RESURRECTION. Christ’s argument was:
    1. God’s words at the bush prove a life for the dead patriarchs.
    2. But there is no life for the dead without a resurrection.
    3. Therefore they must be RAISED FROM THE DEAD; or “live again” by Him. This argument held good, for it silenced the Sadducees. For if they are “living” now, and not dead, how does that prove a resurrection? And, moreover, what is the difference between them and those who are in “the land of the living”? For this is the expression constantly used of the present condition of life in contrast with the state of death.
    Psalm 27:13
    “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
    Psalm 116:9 “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”
    Psalm 142:5 “I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.”
    Mark 9:9 “And as they came down from the mountain, He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead”

  2. markmcculley Says:

    John 5:24 As many as who hear My word and believes Him who sent Me HAS the lasting life of the age to come and WILL NOT COME INTO JUDGMENT but HAS PASSED from death to life. 25 “I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

    there will no future judgment for Christians. There will not even be a side-judgment where extra goodies and rewards are passed out.

    Why then is the text, II Corinthians 5, which is talking to Christians, bringing up the judgment? The answer is that Christians are being told in this text that they are “ambassadors”, not to each other but rather to those who are still lost

    Some of those who are still lost are the elect, who even though God loves them and has always loved them, are right now ignorant of the gospel. And their “dead works”, their legal motives, all of that is evidence that these elect have not yet been justified by God.

    And since the ambassadors to whom Paul is talking don’t know which of the lost are elect or not, they are to present the good news to all sinners, and to command all sinners to “ be reconciled”. The ambassadors don’t say: some of you have already received the reconciliation but just don’t know it.

    The reconciliation is received passively (by imputation) and that has not yet happened for those who are still ignorant of the gospel and still living in a fear that finds false satisfaction in their works.

    So why is Paul bringing up the judgment seat, when Christians have already passed through the judgment by imputation? Paul brings up “the fear of God” (II Corinthians 5:11) because the justified ambassadors need to remember that there are lost people around them who have not yet been justified who need to hear the gospel and be commanded to be reconciled.

    We don’t say: well if Christ died for them, then they are already reconciled and justified. They are not. Nor do we say: well, anyway, it’s sure to happen. God works in history. God imputes in time what Christ has paid for in time. And God uses the gospel as the message heard and believed by the elect as they are being justified.

    II Corinthians 5:20—“we implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

    Even though the chapter is addressed to Christians, the message taken by Christians to the lost is not for the elect only. “Be ye reconciled” is for those who have not yet been already justified.

    Fesko: Romans 8:23 means that we will be declared sons of God by the resurrection of our bodies, when what is sown perishable is raised imperishable (1 Cor. 15:42-44).Just as Christ was declared to be the son of God by his resurrection, those who are in Christ will likewise be declared to be sons of God.

    “For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked” (2 Cor. 5:2-3). Paul does not want to be naked on the day of judgment; to be naked is to be in the state of shame and guilt. The resurrection of the believer, then, is a de facto declaration of righteousness because death has no claim upon those who are righteous (1 Cor. 15:55-57).

    In the resurrection there is already wrapped up a judging-process, at least for believers: the raising act in their case, together with the attending change, plainly involves a pronouncement of vindication. The resurrection does more than prepare its object for undergoing the judgment.The resurrection of the church is not the anticipation of judgment, but is de jure the final judgment.

    One way some folks try to protect justification by grace is to allow some notion of “merit for works after justification”

    they speak of our works after “sin is removed from them” so that they merit reward, but it’s not a strict merit, because grace had to either take the sin out of the work, or ignore the sin etc….

    but see Poole vs extra

    Blomberg–Contrary to one popular strand of thought, believers should not expect eternal degrees of reward . The imagery of the parable of the vineyard laborers (Mt. 20:1-16) points us away from such an expectation.How can there be degrees of perfection?. The so-called ‘crown’ passages (1 Cor. 9:25; 1 Thes. 2:19; 2 Tim. 4:8; James. 1:12; 1 Pet. 5:4), as well as numerous other NT texts, speak of eternal life. The issue is a significant one, for a fair amount of motivation for living the Christian life is often based on these alleged degrees of reward, rather than, the motive of profound gratitude for God in Christ having already done what we could never do

    • markmcculley Says:

      Roger Olson.—“But we must also agree that the rewards will be real and meaningful rewards for freely deciding to allow the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit to work in believers’ lives.
      My fear is that Calvin robs rewards of any meaning and implies that God is actually rewarding himself and not believers. If that is the case, why mention rewards at all? Why preach or teach heavenly rewards as motivation for obedience and service as the New Testament clearly does?
      Ah, yes…the Calvinist will say “foreordained means to a foreordained end.” Back to that. But this seems to take to an extreme a right emphasis on God’s sovereignty and glory. The upshot of it all, then, is that whatever a believer is or is not accomplishing is out of his or her control. And that at the judgment seat of Christ all God will be doing is rewarding himself.
      My point is that the Calvinist doctrine of rewards involves a conundrum. It actually makes no sense at all. Which is perhaps WHY preaching and teaching about heavenly rewards has virtually ceased. They only make sense within a synergistic view of sanctification. In the past, and perhaps to some extent still today, SOME Reformed preachers have taught that justification and regeneration are monergistic while sanctification is not.

      That doesn’t seem to fit with a consistently Calvinist understanding of God’s sovereignty, however, and as Calvinism has become increasingly consistent … any element of synergism, even in sanctification, is slipping away (if not totally condemned).

      There are heavenly rewards. They are vastly disproportionate to anything done in us or done by us in the life. To set up some sort of correlation between our sanctity or our obedience and future rewards is to turn the covenant of grace into a covenant of works. The catechism is clear: we are in a covenant of grace. God is pleased graciously to reward our good works. That the reward is by grace breaks the correlation. In its nature grace is a gift. Grace is unexpected. Grace cannot be demanded or required. That which is demanded or required is just payment and, in that case, we’re back to the covenant of works again. The good news is that Christ has condignly merited both our justification and our salvation. Christ’s benefits were earned for us by his works. They are given freely to us who believe. It was works for the Christ and it is grace for us Christians

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Cary, Good News for Anxious Christians, p 84–” We need to love our neighbors, not our motivations. So it would be perverse to wonder whether you had the wrong motivation for seeking their good. If what you’re trying to accomplish really is good for your neighbor, then that’s good enough. For Christian love is about the good of your neighbor, not how good your heart is.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    John Gill– The Papists finding they could not maintain with success their notion, that good works were meritorious of salvation, instead of the phrase, meritorious of salvation, substituted the other phrase, necessary to salvation, as being a softer one, in order to gain upon incautious minds; when one and the same thing were designed by both. And the Lutheran George Major was thought to be the instrument they made use of for this purpose. But however this be, certain it is, that the broaching of this doctrine by him gave great offence, and occasioned much disturbance.
    This gave Major himself some concern; and Major declared in so many words, that “whereas he saw that some were offended, for the future he would no more make use of that proposition.” Among the chief of his opposers was Nicolaus Amsdorfius, who in great heat and zeal asserted, in contradiction to Major’s notion, that “good works were hurtful and dangerous to salvation ;” a position not to be defended unless when good works are put in the room of Christ, and are trusted to for salvation: But it is not doing of them, that is or can be hurtful to salvation, but depending on them when done.
    This controversy raised great troubles in the churches and gave Melancthon a good deal of uneasiness; who at first was ensnared into the use of the phrase, though he afterwards rejected it, as improper and dangerous. . Melancthon at length allowed that “good works were not necessary to salvation;” nor did he dare to assert it: “For these reasons,” says he, “we teach that good works; or new obedience, are necessary; yet this must not by any means be tacked to it, that good works are necessary to obtain salvation and eternal life.” In his answer to the pastors of Saxony, he has these words: “Nevertheless, let us not use this phrase, good works are necessary to salvation.” And, in another place, “Verily I say, that I do not make use of this phrase, good works are necessary to salvation; but I affirm, that these propositions are true, and properly and without sophistry thus to be declared; new obedience is necessary, or good works are necessary; because obedience is due to God, according to that saying, Debtors we are.”

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Luther, Hedielberg Disputations–
    To say that works without Christ are dead, but not mortal, appears to constitute a perilous surrender of the fear of God.
    Indeed, it is very difficult to see how a work can be dead and at the same time not a harmful and mortal sin.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    John 7: 6 Jesus told them, “My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it does hate Me because I testify about it—that its deeds are evil.

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